Why Beautiful Things Make us Happy – Beauty Explained

Why Beautiful Things Make us Happy – Beauty Explained


A lot of things can be beautiful. Landscapes, faces, fine art, or epic architecture; stars in the sky. Or simply the reflection of the sun on an empty bottle. Beauty is nothing tangible, it only exists in our heads as a pleasant feeling. If we have to define it, we perceive something as beautiful if its color, shape, form, or proportion somehow are appealing or delightful to us. Beauty is a very human experience that’s been with us for millions of years. Even our first tools were trimmed to a symmetrical shape. Researchers have tried to find practical reasons why our ancestors invested the time to make their tools look nice, but couldn’t really identify any. It seems that early humans shaped their tools into teardrops, simply because they liked them better that way. Throughout our history, the definition of beauty has changed a lot. Ideals have shifted or turned into their opposites. But beyond individual and contemporary tastes some things have never really gone out of fashion. The golden ratio, symmetry, or fractal patterns can be found in the art and architecture of cultures from our beginnings, to today. Humans seem to be in mysterious, inherent agreement about the beauty of certain things. The patterns that keep coming up are all rooted in nature. They became part of our biology because they helped our ancestors survive. Fractal patterns for example, occur all over nature. In snail shells, flower heads; waves or clouds Identifying and assessing these things and phenomena correctly used to be vital. Do those clouds mean rain will come soon? Are these waters safe to swim through? Can I eat this? Another pervasive thing is symmetry. In nature it means everything is as it should be Stems and trees and leaves and blossoms all grow symmetrically A deer with impressive antlers is probably a source of nutritious meat. A deformed wheat hair may not be safe to eat. A symmetrical face is more likely to belong to a healthy and fertile mating partner. Because symmetry is so common in fauna and flora, it’s extremely familiar to our brain. It helped our ancestors evaluate their environment more easily, and react quickly to danger. Things that helped us survive activate the reward center in our brain. recognising signals of safety and nutrition, triggered nice feelings in us. So our sense of beauty probably evolved from pattern recognition, but it goes way beyond that now. Humans seem to have evolved an instinct for beauty that is deeply hardwired into us. It remain even after other processes in our brain stop working. Alzheimer’s patients were asked to rank the beauty of several paintings Then the experiment was repeated two weeks later The patients have long since forgotten the paintings, but still ranked the beauty of the paintings in the same order. One could argue that this doesn’t say much. So what if people stick to their personal preferences? But other research has shown that we have a sort of lowest common denominator when it comes to beauty. In different experiments, people were asked to distinguish real from fake abstract paintings. Some were originals by Mondrian and Pollock that were painted based on strict rules like fractal patterns, while the imitations were not. The majority picked out the original artworks. This worked for paintings from both artists, even though their arts are very different. Another experiment also used abstract artworks but, asked people to pick them out among similar paintings made either by children or animals. Again, the test subjects pointed out the legit paintings whose patterns were carefully planned and not random So while we have a hard time pinning down what beauty is or what it’s based on, we somehow recognize it when we see it Humans don’t navigate nature trying to survive day by day anymore We left the natural world behind and created our own. We made the objects that surround us the things we wear and use and look at. As we spread over the planet and our numbers grew, we shaped a completely man-made environment. In the process of doing so, we often neglected beauty in favor of functionality cost or efficiency. We built rows and rows of concrete housing blocks that nobody wants to live in. We have ugly underground subway stations, shabby public service buildings, and sprawling malls. One bland, standardized box beside the next. Humans, don’t like monotony. Eye tracking software has shown that people keep focusing on details and ornaments of architecture while brushing quickly over blank walls And not only are they no fun to look at, they actually make us miserable. Experiments with skin sensors showed that looking at vast, dull facades makes us feel bored and uncomfortable. This kind of boredom has been linked to raised heart rates and stress levels and the opposite seems to be true, too. Over the last decades more and more studies have found that surroundings that are actually aesthetically pleasing to us can improve our well-being, our behavior, cognitive function, and mood. Our bodies and brains react measurably and visibly to everything that surrounds us Beauty in particular has such a strong impact on our well-being that making useful things beautiful can actually make them better. In 2017, a hospital examined recovery factors through observation and interviews with patients and found that visual art in their lounge areas made them more comfortable and happier about their stay in general. Another study looked at how well patients recovered in a hospital that had two wards. A very old and rather ugly one, and a newly renovated ward. To the researchers’ surprise, the patients that stayed in the new, renovated environment, needed less pain medication and were released on average, two days earlier than patients recovering in the old ward. More beautiful surroundings made them feel better, physically. Beauty also has an effect on us on a daily basis. It can improve our general happiness. A study that looked at the main factors influencing the happiness of adults revealed an unexpected result. Besides things like good health in a harmonious family life, individual happiness is affected by how beautiful you find the city you live in. Beauty scored even higher than cleanliness or safety. So what can we learn from all of this? We know that we humans have been fine-tuned for millions of years to process visual input and assess our surroundings. It’s just what we’re programmed to do and we’re starting to learn more about how much beauty as a property is really influencing us. Beauty meets an inherent need for meaningful information. Maybe it would be worth giving it more space in this man-made world we have created. This video was a collaboration with the creative agencies, Sagmeister and Walsh as a contribution to their upcoming beauty exhibition. The exhibition will be shown at the Mak Vienna from Oct. 23, 2018 – Mar. 31, 2019 and a Mak Frankfurt from May 01, 2019 – Sept. 30, 2019 If you want to learn more about the impact of beauty and see tons of gorgeous installations and multimedia objects, go check it out! review: Doğa Poyraz Tahan

100 thoughts on “Why Beautiful Things Make us Happy – Beauty Explained”

  1. The Second Branch of the wisdom in the limitless Divine activity which looks to the mystery of Self-Subsistence.
    This looks to the Divine Names. It is well-known that everyone who possesses beauty wants to both see and display his beauty; that everyone who possesses some skills desires and loves to attract attention to his skills by exhibiting and proclaiming them; he desires and loves his skill, which is a beautiful truth and meaning that has remained concealed, to be revealed and to find ardent admirers.
    These fundamental rules are in force in all things according to the degree of each. According to the testimony of the universe and the evidence of the manifestations and embroideries of the thousand and one Most Beautiful Names of the All-Glorious Self-Subsistent One, Who possesses absolute beauty, there are in every degree of each of those Names a true loveliness, a true perfection, a true beauty and a most exquisite truth. Indeed, in every degree there are endless different sorts of loveliness and innumerable beautiful truths. Since the mirrors reflecting the sacred beauties of those Names and the tableaux displaying their beautiful embroideries and the pages setting forth their beautiful truths are all the beings of the universe, those constant and eternal Names will entirely and unceasingly renew and change the universe through their manifestations as a consequence of that sacred Divine love and due to the mystery of Self-Subsistence. In this way they will display their endless manifestations and infinite, meaningful embroideries and books both to the witnessing gaze of the All-Glorious Self-Subsistent One, Whom they signify, and to the studying gaze of uncountable numbers of conscious creatures and creatures endowed with spirits, and will display countless tableaux out of a finite and limited thing and numerous individuals out of a single individual and multiple truths out of a single truth.
    Risale-i Nur Collection Flashes 450 – Bediüzzaman Said Nursi

  2. Recognizing order helps us recognize estability, which means safety. More complex order is harder to maintain, which means more stability.

  3. We're not starting to learn the importance of beauty, this is something we knew in ages past. We've forgotten beauties importance since the 20's with toilet bowl art by Duchamp.

  4. Common sense and archaeological data suggest that early tools were tear-drop shaped not just because they are visually appealing, but because that shape is the most functional to its intended purpose: a point at one end for cutting, slicing, being an axe or arrowhead, and a larger, more blunt side fitting into a human hand or wooden handle.

  5. This is such a bs, we like all these things that helped ancestors survive, but why they liked them? Also assuming that our thoughts can lead to evolution is bullshit aswell, it should be enviorment or mutations. Pile of evolutionary crap made out to fit in well even tho its a total fantasy far away from science…

  6. Can u please stop using the term 'we evolved'

    I'm respecting everyone's believes… but not everyone believes in evolution

  7. thats why we need more great designer,hope that in China people can realize the importance of beautiful city environment,pay more attention to the beauty rather than development speed.

  8. The hysteria for beauty is basically the likeness of some geometry patterns that Only that dumb assholes make business from those ignorant subjects

  9. Beauty is a form of Genius–is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation. It is one of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in the dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned. It has divine right of sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have it.
    Oscar Wilde

  10. When, about ten years ago, life was utterly awful and there was no hope that it could get better before it got much, much worse, the only thing that reached me was beauty. Beauty can be so many things, it doesn't just make you happy. It can be terrifying, tragic, angry, joyful. It was the only thing that could give me some kind of peace when all there was, was to endure. (Things got better, after they got worse.)

  11. My theory on why gold is valuable is because it has the least corrosive metal on earth. It’s forever. Our ancestors had spears, they broke, they had knives, they dulled, they had friends, they died. But gold is nearly everlasting something you can give your kids and them theirs

  12. Hey look buddy im an engineer this mean i solve problemes, not problems like "what is beauty"……

    Dont worry engineer,you dont need to explain that,this video did.

  13. This is the most boring explanation of beauty I have ever heard… reading articles with words were much more inspirational… this is too scientific for beauty! don't you agree….

  14. He is Allah, the Creator, the Shaper out of naught, the fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifieth Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise.

    (سورة الحشر, Al-Hashr, Chapter #59, Verse #24)

  15. Me: *Finds Square Rock
    Brain: Throw it away its useless
    Me: Fine
    Me: *Finds Weird Looking Rock
    Brain: Take It, Its Legendary

  16. 0:37–0:50 I find this hard to believe. Just by looking, you can tell that the length is so that humans could grip them and so that the "tool" end can strike whatever is being manipulated while minimizing damage to the hand. The length is also becuase the entire thing, tool and handle had to be made from one piece cause I guess at the time we hadn't discovered "rods" or "handles" yet, nor any way to fasten them to the "tool" end.

    This is like saying there's no practical advantage to a 16:9 screen on a device vs a 4:3. It is to maximize screen real-estate and portability of the device. Long and thin is more portable while displaying more data whereas a square is both less portable and can show less data when it comes to things we read vertically, like books, papers, and websites.

  17. So money can bring happiness…

    Because, I can barely afford my rent in the projects, much less buy some paintings and decorate my dump.

  18. The beauty of Kurzgesagt's videos animation makes me happy as well. Not only get new knowledge, the animation also makes me stay for hours to watch every video.

  19. So if I have OCD that makes me unable to stand unsymmetrical things that makes me more of a caveman than a modern human😂😂
    I can't even stand the vents in a car that's not rectangular or a circle

    The only thing that I really found beautiful that was unsymmetrical was in nature or on a BMW S1000 which has unsymmetrical headlights

  20. This is why all I need for ultimate happiness is a pretty garden full of yellow flower pots and bromeliads that's isolated enough so I can sing full volume without annoying anyone. It's all I need. Anyway yellow is the best color and nothing can convince me otherwise.

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